Playground Officially Opened! – A Message of Thanks from our Headteacher

Official Playground Opening Ceremony
Youngest pupil David and oldest pupil Liza with David Ewart, SportScotland and Alison Noble, Headteacher
Thank you to everyone who came along on Saturday 31stOctober 2015 to mark the Official Opening Ceremony of our amazing new Playground. Many thanks to piper and drummer who provided us all with a warm welcome, lending to the sense of occasion. Liza, the eldest pupil, and David, the youngest, performed their honorary duties superbly by cutting our official ribbon. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to give my sincere thanks in public to the parents, children and members of the community who have devoted so much of their time, commitment and resources. Together we believed and together we achieved, raising a truly extraordinary sum to turn playground visions into reality for all our children. 

We are grateful to the parents who worked so hard on submitting funding applications, enabling us to secure match funding from SportScotland through the Commonwealth Legacy Fund. David Ewart, from SportScotland, presented us with a plaque to mark our achievement in creating such a magnificent active space together, as a singly united community. We all enjoyed delicious cake and thankfully the rain didn’t arrive until we were leaving!

Establishing a natural environment which provides endless opportunities for activity and creativity was key to the vision developed by parents and school and it has been an absolute joy to witness that vision come to fruition. The playground supervisors and Senior Leadership Team have noticed a remarkable improvement in the quality of play and behaviour at playtimes. Our accident statistics have dropped and while previously we used to have several children who regularly visited the Care Zone just for some TLC, there has not been one child since August.

The playground has been timetabled for curriculum activities and the Class Teachers are greatly enthused by the opportunities our new area has provided. Fiona Sellar, Class Teacher and Outdoor Learning Coordinator, has inspired all the staff with her presentation on how the play area will support, enhance and enrich learning.

We have been using the strip of land across the road for curriculum activities but recently gave access to the area at lunchtime for play. It is offering a superb space for running, jumping, climbing, building and great teamwork.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to the members of the Parent Council Playground Group, who volunteered almost three years ago to support playground improvement. Following a parent survey, the playground was identified as an area causing concern and a priority for action. An exceptional group of people offered their time, skills, talents, knowledge and valuable support, encouragement and kindness to support improvement. At times, as Headteacher, I have felt overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness and dedication. They spent a huge amount of their personal time, in addition to their busy family and work commitments, to help create and develop a shared vision for our playground. The vision has now become a reality and is a true reflection of powerful parental and community engagement to improve the learning outcomes and experiences for the current and future children at Sciennes and in the community. 

The generosity, kindness and thoughtfulness of so many companies, individuals, parents and families have been tremendously valued and appreciated. Particular thanks to Stephen Mozier from Grounds for Learning, Louise Caldwell City of Edinburgh’s Play Development Officer, Margaret Westwood Chair of International Play Association Scotland,  Savills and the Grange Association. My most sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has given their support to this vitally important initiative. There is still more to do and the Playground Group will be meeting again soon to take forward our next steps. Parents and carers will be most welcome to come along and support. 

Thank you to Chris Hill for providing us with these photographs of the opening ceremony. We hope you enjoy the photographs that will be posted regularly showing our children having fun and learning. 

Alison Noble, Headteacher 

Thank you to Business Manager Angela Christie, who has been a driving force in delivering our playground vision